The Indian government announced Thursday that the top official of its embassy in China will not attend the Winter Olympics ceremonies in Beijing, after accusing the host of politicizing the event, joining the diplomatic boycott suggested by the United States.
“It is regrettable that China has chosen to politicize an event like the Olympics. I wish to inform that our chargé d’affaires at the Indian embassy in Beijing will not attend either the opening or the closing ceremony,” Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi told a press conference.
India has taken this decision after a PLA (People’s Liberation Army of China) member, who participated in 2020 in a bloody border clash in the Himalayas against Indian soldiers, was part of the traditional Olympic torch relay yesterday, according to the Chinese newspaper Global Times.
The confrontation, which took place in the Galwan Valley, was the worst border crisis between the two countries in 45 years and resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers, while 76 were injured.
For its part, China acknowledged the deaths of four of its soldiers.
Indian social networks supported the decision not to send political representation to the event, and the public broadcaster Prasar Bharati, run by Doordarshan Television Network and All India Radio, announced that it would not broadcast live any of the opening and closing ceremonies.
“As a result of the announcement by the Ministry of External Affairs, Doordarshan Sports Channel will not broadcast live the opening and closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics to be held in Beijing,” confirmed on Twitter its executive director, Shashi Shekhar Vempati.
India has only one representative at these Winter Games, skier Arif Khan, who will compete in the men’s alpine skiing category.
In recent months, countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia announced a diplomatic boycott against Beijing 2022 due to the human rights situation in that Asian country, especially the treatment of the Uyghur minority in the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang.
Despite the announcement, the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, and the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, have confirmed their attendance at the event.